Complaints & Inquiries

Concerns About Drinking Water Systems

Many concerns are about a particular drinking water system, incident, event or situation in the person's community. Most fall under the jurisdiction of the regional health authorities, and are best addressed by their staff.

If you are unable to reach the correct person at the health authority, the Health Protection Branch will be happy to assist by:

  • Recording the name, contact information and location of the complainant.
  • Recording any pertinent details provided by the complainant.
  • Referring the complainant to the relevant person in the health authority for follow-up, and/or providing the complainant with contact information, and sources of further information.

Formal requests for investigations under section 29 of the Drinking Water Protection Act must be made directly to your health authority in writing. If you wish to request an investigation, Health Protection Branch (Ministry of Health) staff will guide you to the appropriate contact person in your health authority.

Concerns about Service Provided by Health Authorities

The health authorities do not have a direct reporting relationship with the Ministry of Health. The ministry’s initial response will be to help the complainant find the right person in the health authority to follow up on their complaints, usually beginning with the supervisor.

Requests for reconsideration of a decision as per Part 6 of the Drinking Water Protection Act will be referred to health authorities. Requests for review of certain decisions made by a drinking water officer (Part 6 of the Drinking Water Protection Act) will be referred to the office of the Provincial Health Officer. See Requests for Reviews under the Drinking Water Protection Act, Office of the Provincial Health Officer (PDF, 40KB).

If, after following this approach, the complainants are not satisfied with the service they have received from the health authority, concerns can be brought to the Health Protection Branch.

Concerns about Policies or Services Provided by the Health Protection Branch, Ministry of Health

Let the Health Protection Branch know if you have an inquiry that needs answering, or if you are unhappy about:

  • A decision we have made.
  • Any aspect of our work.
  • A member of our staff providing incorrect information or treating you unprofessionally.

Once we have received this information, we will either direct you to the right person or take a note of your complaint or inquiry, and pass it to him or her. We will usually do this within 24 hours, but please allow up to 20 working days for an initial response. If you do not have all the information above, we will work with you try to determine the best person to address your concern.

If your concern falls outside the ministry’s range of responsibilities we will inform you of this and forward your complaint to the right service agency as quickly as possible.

Contacting the Minister of Health or the Deputy Minister

If you have already contacted the Health Protection Branch and are not satisfied, you can contact the Deputy Minister or Minister of Health for further consideration of your matter. Please put your concerns in writing and send them to the Minister of Health. A reply will be provided within 20 working days. Your complaint will be logged and tracked to ensure it is resolved.

Office of the Deputy Minister
Ministry of Health
1515 Blanshard Street
Victoria BC  V8W 3C8
Phone: (250) 952-1164
Fax: (250) 952-1390

Office of the Minister of Health
Ministry of Health
PO Box 9067
STN PROV GOVT
Victoria BC  V8W 9E2
Phone: (250) 387-3504
Fax: (250) 387-3420

Contacting the Ombudsman

If you are not able to reach a resolution and you feel that you have been treated unfairly by the Ministry of Health, you can refer your complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can:

  • Provide information about what steps to take in dealing with a public agency.
  • Try to settle complaints through consultation.
  • Investigate complaints about administrative unfairness by a public agency.
  • Make recommendations to a public agency.
  • Report to the provincial legislature.
  • Issue public reports.

Ombudsman
Phone: (250) 387-5855 (Victoria)
Toll-Free: 1-800-567-3247 (all of B.C.)
Fax: (250) 387-0198
Website: www.ombudsman.bc.ca